There are two main characters in any story or book. They are the Protagonist and the Antagonist.
The protagonist drives the story. This is the main character, the one who has the most to gain and lose. That’s a simplification, but for our purposes it will do. Your story will evolve around a main character. Often you will have a hero and a heroine, but the best books are those that have only One Central Character. Chose him or her carefully, for this character will be the one around whom everything revolves. The one you must get your reader so wrapped up in that they suspend disbelief, the one who will dictate to you where the story will go.
In some books the villain, or antagonist, is the actual situation, in others a person, so if you are going to create a villain, remember that the more devious and bad he is, the stronger your hero will be. Thus, the more frightening and threatening the environment is, the stronger your hero, who must overcome these obstacles, will be.
Secondary Characters are the next most important to the story. This may be a best friend, a lover, a child or a parent, depending on the story line. In some books, the secondary character is an animal. Your reader will have to know them as well as the protagonist does. Don’t create secondary characters who do not further the plot or story line.
Minor Characters are of less importance, but will play a role in the story line. They will need names and enough ongoing description for the reader to picture them. They will appear more than two or three times, so get to know them.
Characters who only make a short appearance, need only be described briefly within the flow of the story. Think of them as bit players. Some may not even need a name, but can be referred to as the “fat storekeeper,” the “lanky cowboy,” the “whining clerk,” or by a last name or nickname. Be sure however you refer to them gives a quick picture so you don’t have to waste time on it. “The whining clerk twisted her narrow lips over words that grated at Jennie’s nerves.” That may be all you need. “The fat storekeeper wiped chubby hands down the front of his dirty apron.” It’s fun to have the protagonist refer to someone by a descriptive title as if it were a name. Don’t overdo that, though. “Old Frizzy Hair.” “No Lips” “Big Foot” Etc.
We can’t discuss developing good characterization without talking about Point of View, often called POV. The deeper the writer immerses the telling of the story within the character’s point of view, the more the reader will care what happens. The reader (thus the writer) must be so firmly planted within that character’s mind that he experiences everything the character does. Even the narration can and should reflect the character’s voice (POV). If you don’t understand POV, sit in a room with the doors closed and the blinds pulled and write about what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear within that room. That is a singular POV. What goes on beyond that room takes place in God’s Eyes, not yours. As a writer, you may well be the God of all you survey, however, your characters are not. They are in that closed room, and when you are in their head, in other words, writing their story, the reader can only know what they know, see, smell, feel, taste and hear what they do.

About veldabrotherton

For thirty years I've been a writer. Publication of my work began in 1994 . I'm pleased to have recently settled with Oghma Creative Media as my publisher. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. I recently signed a contract to write westerns again, and what fun it's been working on the first one. If I weren't writing my life wouldn't be so exciting.
This entry was posted in antagonist, characterization, minor characters, POV, protagonists, secondary characters, singular POV, Velda Brotherton, writing. Bookmark the permalink.


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